Pope Francis waves to wellwishers as he leaves after a meeting at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the capital Maputo, Mozambique Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Pope Francis is opening a three-nation pilgrimage to southern Africa with a strategic visit to Mozambique, just weeks after the country's ruling party and armed opposition signed a new peace deal and weeks before national elections. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Pope highlights HIV-AIDS in visit to Mozambique hospital

September 06, 2019 - 2:26 am

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Pope Francis is wrapping up his visit to Mozambique by meeting with HIV-infected mothers and children at a Catholic Church-run hospital in one of the countries hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic.

The Zimpeto Hospital is the latest to be opened by the Sant'Egidio community, a Rome-based charity that helped broker Mozambique's 1992 peace accord and then launched a comprehensive AIDS initiative to provide antiretroviral therapy to infected Mozambicans. Since its 2002 launch, the project has treated some 200,000 people.

Many of them are pregnant women who receive therapy to prevent transmission to their unborn children. According to UNAIDS, sub-Saharan Africa remains the most severely affected region, with 1 in 25 adults living with HIV.

Francis is visiting the Zimpeto hospital Friday before celebrating Mass and flying to Madagascar.

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